Punjab government has allowed free walk-in testing for COVID-19 at the government hospitals and mobile vans.”Punjab has decided to allow free walk-in testing in government hospitals and mobile vans, and similar testing at a nominal manpower cost not exceeding Rs 250 by private doctors and hospitals, to encourage increased COVID testing to check the surge in cases in the state. People who want their result immediately can opt for rapid antigen testing while RT-PCR testing will also be similarly available,” an official release said.
The state will also explore similar arrangements for rapid antigen testing by pharmacists/chemists on the lines of private hospitals and doctors.
It said the decision was taken on Thursday by Chief Secretary Vini Mahajan, who said the government will provide training and kits to private hospitals and doctors for the tests, which will be allowed on the basis of Aadhar card and mobile numbers, without any questions asked or need for ‘parchis’ (slips).
With test results available for rapid antigen test in 30 minutes, this will lead to substantial increase in testing and early diagnosis and treatment, she said.
Those who test positive through rapid antigen test or are symptomatic but negative can be tested again through RT-PCR test for confirmation, she said while reviewing COVID situation with the DCs and civil surgeons of Patiala, Bathinda, Amritsar, Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Mohali districts.
The Chief Secretary also asked DCs to explore rapid antigen test at private hospitals and pharmacies/chemist shops at a nominal manpower cost not exceeding Rs 250 per test, with proper training and kits to be provided by the government. The test results and data so collected by private hospitals and chemists etc can be uploaded on the government portal for further action, she added.
In another directive amid the surge in cases and deaths in Punjab, the Chief Secretary has also instructed that the 104 Helpline number should provide real-time information on bed availability district-wise.
She directed the DCs and civil surgeons to ensure an adequate supply of oxygen cylinders in their respective districts.